Officials from the two countries met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to discuss ways to improve trade relations.
DIPLOMACY | TRADE
Uganda and Tanzania's strong social and cultural ties are an opportunity to grow bilateral trade, foreign affairs minister, Sam Kutesa said during the just-concluded Joint Permanent Commission.
Government officials, Permanent Secretaries, and Ministers from the two countries met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to discuss ways to improve trade relations.
Key on their agenda was the removal of trade tariffs and other barriers that have affected the business relations of the two neighbouring East African countries.
Addressing the 3rd Tanzania-Uganda JPC, Kutesa said the two countries have the opportunity to grow trade and investment volumes on account of strong history of diplomatic and social ties.
"We share a common land border stretching 243 miles and transboundary resources. We have communities on both sides of the border that not only speak the same language but also share the same culture, values, and traits. These communities share the water, pasture, and other resources from time to time. This commonality between our two countries forms a good basis for cooperation for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples," Kutesa stated during the meeting.
The volume of trade between Uganda and Tanzania is about $355.6m (about sh1.3trillion), foreign affairs minister, Sam Kutesa said, quoting the Uganda Bureau of Statistics figures.
During the last JPC held in Kampala in August 2018, the two countries inked several cooperation frameworks in trade, agriculture, education, energy, defence and security, and transport.
Kutesa said told the meeting that progress in those areas of cooperation was mixed and called for fast-tracking of implementation of agreed positions.
"Our preliminary assessment indicates that progress has been mixed. In some instances, we have moved. In others, however, a lot of work remains to be done. The decisions we adopt have the potential to cause a direct and positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of our people," he said.
Business leaders and policymakers from the two countries met later for the Uganda Tanzania Business Forum, which was graced by presidents Yoweri Museveni and John Magufuli.
The two countries signed memoranda of understanding aimed at resolving bilateral issues such as immigration, work permits and higher inspection fees for their goods.